Aquarium’s STAR Center reopens to public after mass sea turtle stranding

A loggerhead recovering at the STAR Center. [Photo courtesy N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island.]

The STAR Center sea turtle hospital at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island reopened to visitors Monday, weeks after a mass stranding of cold-stunned sea turtles overflowed the facility.

There are now 88 sea turtle patients in the center’s care. In mid-January, more than 100 sea turtles were found cold-stunned on the Outer Banks after a cold snap rapidly dropped air and water temperatures.

At one point, the STAR Center was caring for nearly 200 turtles, and even the outdoor bathrooms were turned into triage centers.

The center was closed to the public to make room for recovering turtles, many swimming in containers and pools.

Cold stunning is an annual event NEST volunteers and the aquarium staff starting planning for in September or October. It’s so common, the aquarium has an wish list for rehabilitation. Click here to see the list.

If you see turtle in need of help, contact the 24-hour NEST hotline at 252-441-8622.
For more information on NEST, and to make a donation or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit

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